Federal Cannabis Legislation Overview: Part 3

A few weeks ago, we published comprehensive overviews (part 1 and part 2) of all federal bills floating through Congress to decriminalize cannabis. Since then, there have been a few significant developments regarding federal cannabis bills in Congress. This article summarizes these developments.

Pro-reform candidate wins Republican primary in South Carolina

Okay, this first one isn’t about federal cannabis bills. But it’s still important. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), sponsor of the States Reform Act (SRA) introduced in Congress last year, won South Carolina’s First District primary race against Trump-endorsed Katie Arrington. On June 14, The Associated Press called the race for Mace with Mace getting 53% of the vote and Arrington getting 45%. Mace said winning the primary despite attacks for supporting cannabis legalization “shows that the only place it’s controversial is in Washington, DC.” Mace also said any candidate who attacks a competitor over their reform stance will “lose big time.” Mace’s main victory is good news for the SRA. While the bill faces an uncertain future due to the various other cannabis reform bills in Congress, Mace said she believes her bill is the only bill that could attract enough of bipartisan support to be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. His re-election will be determined in November.

SAFE Banking Act excluded from manufacturing legislation

A bicameral conference committee is negotiating a manufacturing bill that apparently won’t include reforming marijuana banks. A group that included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met to scale down the bill and fast-track the legislation before the August recess. This included keeping the Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) banking law out of the legislation, as Republicans demand. The exclusion of the SAFE Banking Act has been criticized, particularly by Representative of the Law’s sponsor Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Representative Blumenauer. Failure to include the law, Rep. Perlmutter says, means cannabis companies will continue to have to do cash business.

Representatives Introduce Bill Targeting Veterans

On June 23, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Mast (R-FL) reintroduced the Veterans Equal Access Act. Representatives Blumenauer and Mast are both co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The law has been introduced in Congress several times with bipartisan support, although the law has yet to be signed into law. The law would allow U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to patients, if medical marijuana is legal in the state. Blumenauer and Mast are optimistic about the future of the bill, simply because this additional veteran reform effort may attract support from members of Congress who are not yet ready to support widespread cannabis legalization. In addition to the law, Blumenauer and Mast are also sponsoring greater cannabis legalization legislation, as Blumenauer introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act in October 2021 and Mast is co-sponsoring the PREPARE Act which was introduced last April. .

Representatives present bill on access to financial services

Also on June 23, Representatives Troy Carter (D-LA) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced the CLIMB Act (Capital Lending and Investment for Marijuana Businesses). If passed, state-legal marijuana businesses could be listed on national stock exchanges and have access to additional financial services. The purpose of this bill is to protect private financial institutions, national securities exchanges and market participants when listing or trading cannabis-related commercial securities. In this sense, federal agencies would be protected from sanctions by other agencies, such as the Department of Justice. Hopefully, the bill would address the inequitable access to financial services that has plagued cannabis-related businesses for so long.

We will continue to monitor the progress of federal cannabis bills in Congress. It’s an exciting time, and the momentum for change only seems to be growing.

About Michael S. Montanez

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